A good bit has been happening with the Bulls, including quite a few roster changes. To summarize, the 2016 Bulls are going to be nothing like the 2015 Bulls.
As a reminder, here’s a link to a list of the 31 hitters and 36 pitchers that put on a Bulls uniform last year.
Boog Powell, who played in 56 games last year and was a very exciting Kevin Kiermaier-type player, was part of a trade to the Seattle Mariners. Too bad. I was hoping to see more of him in 2016.
C.J. Riefenhauser, who did a fine job in relief in 2015 (29 games, 2.86 ERA) was part of the same deal.
We have to thank the Bulls’ Hit Bull Win Blog for a terrific update on a big 40-man roster shuffle a while back. From that we can deduce that there’s a very good chance that a couple of guys from last year may show up back in Durham, if they don’t stick with the Rays out of spring training (or get traded). Among our favorites staying on the roster are:
Taylor Motter, Mikie Mahtook, and Richie Shaffer. Unfortunately, three of our favorite guys were designated for assignment: JP Arencibia, Kirby Yates, and Brandon Gomes. Arencibia has signed with the Phillies; Kirby Yates is off to the Cleveland Indians; and Brandon Gomes has signed with the Chicago Cubs.
Again, with great thanks to the Bulls front office, we heard of even more transactions;
- Hak-Ju Lee, who has never seemed to really recover from his knee injury back in 2013, declared minor league free agency and signed with the San Francisco Giants.
- LHP Scott Diamond, our favorite 2015 starting pitcher, is off to Toronto.
- Joey Rickard got picked off in the Rule 5 draft, by Baltimore, which means he goes directly on their 40-man. Good luck. He was terrific at the end of last season.
- Jim Miller, a very reliable reliever in 2015, is off to Milwaukee.
- Jake Elmore is off to Milwaukee as well.
- Joey Butler, who started 2015 with the Bulls but spent most of the year with the Rays, signed with Cleveland.
- Robert Zarate, a very erratic guy and sometime Bull last year, is off to Pittsburgh.
The Bulls have also put up their list of the top 10 moments of 2015. Not quite sure why an ACC tournament that screwed up the playing field for the Bulls is in the top 10, though. (Have I ever mentioned that I’m not an ACC fan, or a Trinity College fan?)
Congrats to Mike Birling though for winning the International League Executive of the Year award. Well-deserved.
I see they’ve got a new tagline, "Known for Baseball, Famous for Fun" on web page.
This mild winter appears to have treated the field very, very well.
Lastly, I have very mixed feelings about the new safety netting that’s going to go up over the dugout areas (and in front of my seat). I spent one year in a seat behind home plate and found the netting a distraction. Not sure just how it will work out. However, I have to say that all too often I’ve seen folks down by the dugout, with children, paying absolutely no attention to the game. So maybe they do need to be protected from themselves. For myself, I have not been particularly worried since Jon Weber left and I haven’t had to dodge one of his bats. From the image it doesn’t look like they’ve started work on that project yet.